Clinical Laboratory

A clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on clinical specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient as pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Clinical laboratories are at the forefront of the personalized medicine trend. However, they are also targets for cost-cutting measures by payers, and increased regulation by CMS and FDA, making the industry a challenging one in which to succeed.

Laboratory medicine is generally divided into two sections, each of which being subdivided into multiple units. These two sections are:

  • Anatomic pathology: Units included here are histopathology, cytopathology, and electron microscopy. Other disciplines pertaining to this section include anatomy, physiology, histology, pathology, and pathophysiology.
  • Clinical pathology, which includes:
    • Clinical Microbiology: This encompasses five different sciences. These include bacteriology, virology, parasitology, immunology, and mycology.
    • Clinical Chemistry: Units under this section include instrumental analysis of blood components, enzymology, toxicology and endocrinology.
    • Hematology: This section consists of automated and manual analysis of blood cells.
    • Genetics is also studied along with a subspecialty known as cytogenetics.
    • Reproductive biology: Semen analysis, Sperm bank and assisted reproductive technology.

Credibility of medical laboratories is paramount to the health and safety of the patients relying on the testing services provided by these labs. The international standard in use today for the accreditation of medical laboratories is ISO 15189. Under their respective approaches to laboratory licensure and accreditation, many countries have legal requirements that medical laboratories must be accredited to ISO 15189. This is not true in the United States.

In the United States, there are federal and state laws that address the licensure and accreditation of medical laboratories. Accreditation is done by the Joint Commission, College of American Pathologists, AAB (American Association of Bioanalysts), and other state and federal agencies. CLIA 88, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, also dictate testing and personnel.

In addition, many clinical laboratories have adopted quality management programs such as Six Sigma and Lean quality to improve clinical quality, reduce turnaround time, cut costs, and boost productivity. Lean and Six Sigma are both process improvement methodologies. At a very basic level, Lean is about speed and efficiency, while Six Sigma is about precision and accuracy, leading to data-driven decisions. Lean and Six Sigma methods are finding numerous applications in anatomic pathology laboratories and pathology group practices.

COVID-19 Serology Test Review: FDA Says 8 of 11 Tests Fail

CEO SUMMARY: After introducing some 200 serological assays onto the market in March and April with little or no review, as of this writing the FDA website lists only 77 serology tests. Of that number, 11 assays have been evaluated independently and eight of those 11 have been pulled from…

Read More



Questions Arise as FDA Assesses Serology Tests

CEO SUMMARY: On June 4, the FDA released results of an evaluation of some of the 20 tests offered for sale in this country to identify antibodies for SARS-CoV-2. A quality control expert in clinical labs called the antibody test analysis deeply flawed in part because of the study’s …

Read More



COVID-19 Serology Test Claims 98.8% Accuracy

CEO SUMMARY: When it announced its new antibody test for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on May 3, Roche Holdings explained that its sensitivity level after 14 days was 100%, which is an important point to understand about the test. When assessing Roche’s claims, two expert…

Read More



Coronavirus Tests Boost Immunology Lab’s Volume

CEO SUMMARY: Physicians treating patients with compromised immune systems who contract the new coronavirus need immunology tests to guide risk-assessment decisions for these patients. At a Virginia lab that specializes in such testing, specimen volume has tripled since the SAR…

Read More



In Michigan, Short Supplies Constrain COVID Test Capacity

CEO SUMMARY: Because of a severe shortage of supplies, members of Michigan’s two hospital laboratory networks have been stymied in their ability to respond to the pandemic and operate their SARS-CoV-2 analyzers at full capacity. The lack of primers, reagents, specimen-collec…

Read More



Lab Directors Develop Plans for Return of Routine Hospital Care

CLINICAL LABORATORY DIRECTORS IN MICHIGAN are developing plans to test patients who will return when hospitals reopen for routine care. Included in those plans are strategies to do testing for the novel coronavirus on patients who will return for everyday care and elective procedures, said Bart…

Read More



FDA Replaces March 16 Serology COVID-19 Rules

CEO SUMMARY: In the rush to allow companies and clinical laboratories to develop, validate, and bring to market serological tests for COVID-19, the federal Food and Drug Administration issued rules on March 16 that eased its requirements for these new assays. Because of the la…

Read More



Expert Offers Comments on FDA and Revised Serology Test Rules

CLINICAL LABORATORY DIRECTORS are asking what caused the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a highly questionable policy in March to allow serological tests for SARS-CoV-2 and then change that policy seven weeks later. Under a policy the agency issued March…

Read More



California Research Team Analyzes Performance of 12 Serology Tests

CEO SUMMARY: Researchers with the COVID-19 Testing Project used a multidisciplinary effort to analyze and compare the performance of 12 serological tests. One finding is that, 16 to 20 days or more after a confirmed infection with a molecular test, many of the 12 serological te…

Read More



Italy’s SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak Brings Out Best in Clinical Labs

CEO SUMMARY: Italy was one of the first countries outside of China to experience an explosive outbreak of COVID-19 and its northern provinces were hit hardest by this novel coronavirus. In this exclusive interview with THE DARK REPORT,…

Read More



How Much Laboratory Business Intelligence Have You Missed?

Lab leaders rely on THE DARK REPORT for actionable intelligence on important developments in the business of laboratory testing. Maximize the money you make-and the money you keep! Best of all, it is released every three weeks!

Need A Group Membership? Company Discounts are Available!

Sign up for TDR Insider

Join the Dark Intelligence Group FREE and get TDR Insider FREE!
Never miss a single update on the issues that matter to you and your business.

Powered by Americaneagle.com

Hosted by Americaneagle.com, Inc.